Pets

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Posted by w0ep on June 23, 2018 at 11:33 pm

[Today’s run: 7 miles]

I am here to confess that I am not a pet person.  I am not allergic.  I do like animals, in small doses.

Our baseline pet load has been three mouths to feed since we moved to Mississippi.  We had a dog on arrival and soon obtained two cats which we reverse-inherited from our children.  Early this year we lost a cat after years of illness.  And then shortly after our overstuffed dog got cancer and also died.  It was rather traumatic.  I was starting to see some relief, a light at the end of the tunnel.

Before the week was out we had another dog, even bigger and more obtrusive.  A nice dog, don’t get me wrong. But its like having a foreign person who can’t speak english who needs to be let in and out a few times a day and leaves creases in my bed when left home alone.  Why?  Why would I want that?  We could adopt a stranger from a foreign country and let him smoke a hooka in the guest room and hang his loofa in the shower and cook with a charcoal brazier on the dining table and it would hardly be less disruptive of the household.  Then, when said foreign person dies you cry a lot and go get another one the next day.   I don’t feel like I get anything much out of the relationship except responsibility, and I have no lack of that already.

My wife is a pet person and she saw something “cute” and now we are back up to two cats and one dog.  But this time, instead of being an old-age home for our son/daughter’s pet, a refuge to fulfill a humanitarian commitment, we are starting over with a critter who could be here for the next 20 years.

Why?  I haven’t been presented with a reason that breaks through the impenetrable fog of my perpetual obtuseness on this subject.  There must be something, bless her heart, that life is not providing so that she has to have these little dependents lolling around, shredding the furnishings and eating our retirement money.

Of course, we are married in sickness and health, richer/poorer, till death do us part.  So there will eventually be an end of the animal parade.  Either she will be an overrun widowed cat lady, or I will have a short spell of peace and quiet.  I’m told that in the Garden of Eden all of the animals lived out doors.  That sounds like Heaven: where the lion and lamb lie down together, not with me.

So, I spent some time recently looking at motorcycles on Craigslist.  I’m not going to buy one; maybe on the off chance someone will give me one.  I feel an inexpressible need to go somewhere at high speeds.

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2 Comments

  • On June 24, 2018 at 7:14 am Sue said

    I’m grateful for a husband who is not a pet person.

    When the older girls started leaving home, I felt there was a void that needed to be filled somehow for the two younger kids so procured an adult cat from the animal rescue folks. His name was Bart and he actually did okay, except for the occasional accident from a urinary tract infection and scratching the furniture inadvertently with his back claws. He had no front claws but I felt he needed some sort of protection if he ever got outside. The UTI’s went away with a change of food. The expense was something hard to bear for us when he had to visit the vet. Animals are expensive and it just wasn’t in the budget. When Courtney eventually moved out and on with her life, she took Bart. I made a deal with her, if she’d take him, we’d buy the expensive food for as long as he lived. It worked out well as he’s been deceased for several years now.

    Currently, four out of four children have pets in their homes. Adrian held out the longest due to allergies, but finally found a breed of dog that wouldn’t stir those up.

    I guess growing up with outside pets gave us the best of both worlds. The pet had its own space and so did we.

    We are planning to move to the farm and renovate/add-on/tear-off the house. We’ve discussed getting a no-nonsense dog, or at least a dog with a no-nonsense bark to discourage trespassers, but just can’t drum up any real enthusiasm for the project, so probably won’t do it.

  • On June 24, 2018 at 10:36 am Jonathan Howard said

    Things are different now than life in Iowa 40 years ago. I know lots of dog people and none leave their dog outside. After all, why would you get a dog if you just leave it outside?

    When I briefly lived at the farm, the neighbor’s dog would run over to visit when seeing the car driving up the driveway in the afternoon. Once it came over and acted funny – smelled or heard the mink twisted up in a trap/chain under the chicken house. Had the dog not behaved that way I’d not have realized it. At least not so soon. (There’s more to that story that is not relevant.)

    I got my first dog when up in years and more stable – almost 50yo and in the same dwelling for 7 years. I have more than one co-worker my age who has pets that were their kids’ and there was a move or something… I think stability is key. Also, when one is younger one is away from home more – out doing things (eating, movies, etc.)

    Living in urban areas, I find dogs (we have two) are a _great_ way to meet neighbors and stay apprised of goings on (without using “Nextdoor”). We’ve now lived in the same place for 4 years and I met maybe 30 people I know by name (more than that if just where they live or what they look like or do for a living – I’m not good with names), more than half owing to dog walking. Most are women – I think guys watch more TV or are just content to let the wife walk the dog. And we get out more owing to the dogs. They love the beach, trails, parks. Plus walking them minimum of 3 times/day rain or shine (no snow). (Once I tried talking to someone on the phone while walking the dogs – that was a realization for me. I found that phone people are not walking to be social with others they meet – they are, after all, on the phone.)

    We have many friends who had to go through their dog’s last days – sometimes it takes weeks or months. We aren’t looking forward to that but know it’s part of the deal. So we invest more in having them in our lives now, knowing that the clock is ticking and it a sad day is coming. And they are fun to have around and watch. One is smart and a bit tricky and manipulative. The other is not so bright, more cheerful, and makes funny snorting or sighing sounds for time to time. Both are a true joy.

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